Joseph Alle­man & Shanna Kunz

Coun­try con­nec­tion

Western Art Collector - - CONTENTS -

The up­com­ing show at Mockingbir­d Gallery ti­tled Dif­fu­sions of Light fea­tures the works of artists and long­time friends Joseph Alle­man and Shanna Kunz. Al­though this is their first show to­gether, the two Utah-based artists go way back—about 15 years they say.

Both artists started off pri­mar­ily in water­color, which has in­flu­enced their oil-paint­ing meth­ods, uti­liz­ing thick and thin paints and chan­nel­ing a con­tem­po­rary style. Alle­man says as fel­low Uta­hans with roots in water­color paint­ing, they share a con­nec­tion be­tween one an­other—a

har­mony in per­son­al­ity and style. “I use a lot more color, and his work is more tonal,” says Kunz. “I think it’s go­ing to be a great com­bi­na­tion.”

Alle­man strives to cre­ate art with an open mind, al­ways look­ing to ex­plore sub­ject mat­ter like horses, barns or old homes in a new way. In his oil paint­ing Tempest Calmed, a jux­ta­po­si­tion of geo­met­ric and or­ganic shapes, the Lo­gan-based artist aims to re­visit el­e­ments of his past work in terms of sub­ject, color and de­sign.

“I look at a barn, I see the shapes, the pat­terns of light and dark—there’s a story there that I don’t re­ally know, and I hope there’s an el­e­ment that comes through [my art] where the viewer can fill in the gaps,” Alle­man says.

The Mockingbir­d Gallery show demon­strates the free-spir­ited na­ture of both artists’ work, telling raw and elu­sive sto­ries only the ru­ral West can con­vey.

In what she calls the Heart­land Se­ries, Kunz in­cor­po­rates more tex­tu­ral, in­ti­mate sub­jects like corn­stalks. Her fa­vorite piece in this body of work, an oil ti­tled Ves­tiges, is a snowy, win­ter piece that pulls view­ers into a deep space filled with corn­stalks. It’s about cap­tur­ing emo­tion and feel­ing like you’re there, Kunz says. Af­ter speak­ing with an Iowa-raised farmer, Kunz de­cided to add a row of dis­tant cat­tle to the back of the paint­ing.

“I love when some­one walks in and has their own per­sonal story [and ideas] about one of my paint­ings. That’s when the magic hap­pens,” says Kunz.

Both artists will be in at­ten­dance for the Fri­day, May 4 re­cep­tion.

Joseph Alle­man, Tempest Calmed, oil, 32 x 36"

Shanna Kunz, A Cho­rus of Aspen, oil on linen, 24 x 24"

Shanna Kunz, Ves­tiges, oil on linen, 36 x 36"

Joseph Alle­man, Foothill Snow, oil, 15 x 15"

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